This MLS season has been fun and enjoyable for all of us, especially for D.C. United fans. We were close to being able to attend one last match today at RFK Stadium, but we'll be watching on TV instead as the LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo meet in the 2012 MLS Cup Final.
Time: 4:30 PM
Predictions: Each of the B&RU writers have made predictions for the result of the MLS Cup Final. They are:
Martin: Ever since his impressive two-goal performance against United in the second week of the season, I've had this quiet resentful respect for Robbie Keane. This year, Keane put together what would have been an MVP-caliber season in any year that didn't involve Chris Wondolowski dominating the pitch and the record books. The storyline for this match also dictates that David Beckham and Landon Donovan will each contribute one last piece of magic before departing the league. So I'm taking the team with the best American soccer player of all time that is coached by the best American soccer coach of all time. With Houston's typically underwhelming road form, I'm predicting the Galaxy to win without much trouble. Give me a score of 3-1.
AMT: You heard me call it on this week's Filibuster with Steve Davis (and if you didn't, you can still catch it here), and I won't go back on it now. I've got the Dynamo in extra time. The teams' names and uniforms are the same, as are many of the players, but these are not the same L.A. and Houston that met at Home Depot Center one year ago. The Galaxy, even since the season-saving return of Maryland product Omar Gonzalez, have had trouble keeping a clean sheet - a stark contrast to the 2011 model - and I think the Dynamo manage to put one into Josh Saunders' net through Will Bruin off of a patented Brad Davis set piece (bonus: set piece earned by Calen Carr's speed). Of course, shutting the Galaxy out at home isn't exactly easy pickings, either, and nobody's been hotter than Robbie Keane in these playoffs, so you've gotta he finds a way. Regulation ends 1-1 before the Dynamo use the speed of Carr and Oscar Boniek Garcia to counter their way into the Cup-winning goal. Galaxy 1, Dynamo 2; D.C. United remains the only team with four stars.
Chest: Maybe it was the 8.5% ABV beer. Maybe it was the adrenalin from a mad dash home to be able to record Filibuster. Or, maybe I was just momentarily insane. Whatever it was, my prediction from earlier this week stands: 3-2 Dynamo. Yes, these are two teams who generally aspire to mistake-free soccer and, at their best, tend to win 1-0. However, we've seen Houston start playoff games slowly (first leg against United), and we've seen LA sleepwalk a couple times in these playoffs (play-in vs. Vancouver, 2nd leg at Seattle). Both teams are better going forward than they are at defending in my book, and I expect to see an early goal that will allow this to be a more open final than last year's.
Benuski: I don't want to do it. I really, really don't. But, alas, my brain tells me that I must predict that the LA Galaxy will win their fourth MLS Cup in a 3-2 battle. When Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane are on they can shred any defense in MLS; in what is David Beckham's last game and what could be Landon Donovan's last MLS (or ever?) game, I think they will be up to the task despite some schizophrenic playoff showings so far. Houston does have the talent to make it interesting, especially with Brad Davis and Oscar Boniek Garcia, but I think they fall just short.
Stephen: For the first MLS Cup specifically designed to be hosted by the higher-seeded team, #8 LA Galaxy takes on #9 Houston in a game that shows the MLS playoffs bear little resemblance to the regular season. In a single game for the Cup, I'll go with home field advantage since the Galaxy are 2-1-0 at home during the playoffs, while the Dynamo are 1-1-1 on the road during their playoff run. Call it a 2-1 Galaxy win as Becks jets into the sunset to Shanghai/Wigan/Monaco/Sydney with a second championship. But why listen to me, I predicted Sporting and the Sounders in the final!?!
What are you drinking? Flying Dog Wildeman Farmhouse IPA
For the very last time in 2012, this is your place for pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion.